n. Meal preparation in which the basic ingredients come pre-measured in a package and only need to be combined with one or more fresh ingredients and then cooked.
Time-pressed cooks are driving the trend toward 'speed scratch,' using convenience products like mixes and frozen dinners that call for a handful of fresh ingredients to turn out fast meals.
In other words, the family might be eating together, but Dad opts for leftovers, Mom dips into the freezer, and the kids tuck into something microwaved, something from the deli, or a combination of fresh ingredients combined with prepared products — also known as "speed scratch."
A less-popular synonym for this phrase is component cooking. Jargon-spewing food industry types often call the packages of pre-measured ingredients meal kits and the cooked result an assembly meal, which is enough to ruin anyone's appetite.